Friday, December 28, 2012

Set up / Fixing / tweaking Linux Mint 13 Xfce

This post is a list of the software I need to install and the parts of the UI that I need to tweak.

Control key:

Make the left caps locks (left of the "A") be a control key.

To fix this immediately run:
setxkbmap -option 'ctrl:nocaps'
setxkbmap -option 'ctrl:swapcaps'

To fix this at startup everytime:
  1. Menu | Settings | Session and Startup | Application Autostart
  2. Hit the [+ Add] button.  In the pop up dialog:
  3. Make up a "name" and "description" of your liking, such as "Cntl <-> Caps".  For the "command" , copy one of the preceding setxkbmap commands.
The values allowed in the -options flag for setxdbmap
are in /usr/share/X11/xkb/rules/base.lst

Add Google to Linux Mint Firefox search engine choices:

The search bar (the one in the upper right) no longer has Google as an option.  Ugh.
I was using Firefox 17.0.1.
  1. Visit
  2. Click on the Google icon at the bottom.
  3. Go to the search bar and choose Google (which now be an option).
Add Google chrome as a software package

From a google search on "Chrome PPA", I've copied the results from

Install the PPAs for google chrome which tell Ubuntu/Mint where to look for new releases. There are three commands.

wget -q -O - | sudo apt-key add -

sudo sh -c 'echo "deb stable main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google-chrome.list'

sudo apt-get update 

Then choose the distribution of your choice, by choosing one of the following.  Choose "stable" if not sure.

sudo apt-get install google-chrome-stable

sudo apt-get install google-chrome-beta

sudo apt-get install google-chrome-unstable

UI: move the task panel or task bar

Right click on the panel (not an applet in the pane) and in panel preferences, uncheck the Lock Panel box.  Once this is done, at both ends of the panel there is a small dotted region, which can be used to select the panel itself, rather than an applet.

Select the panel and move it to one of the edges.

UI: focus follows mouse

Adjust the setting in The Menu | Settings | Window Manager | Focus

UI: adjust the layout of your workspaces

If necessary, add the workspaces applet to the "task bar" or "panel", via right click on the panel:
Add New Items | Workspace Switcher | ... | Close "Add New Items"

To adjust the number of rows in which the workspaces are laid out:
Workspace switcher applet (right click) | Properties | Number of Rows

UI:  keyboard shortcuts for the desktop GUI (not application specific)

The settings are at:

The Menu | Settings | Window Manager | Keyboard

UI: How to lock your screen

There are several ways to lock your screen:
 - The underlying command to run is xflock4.  You can run this from a terminal if curious.

- Use the default keyboard short cut cntl-alt-delete.  This shortcut is set in 

The Menu | Settings | Keyboard | Application Shortcuts

 - On the right side of the panel, you should see your login name.  Left-click on this to get a menu.  One entry should be "Lock-screen".

 - Right click on the panel (on the ends) and choose

  Add New Items  || Action buttons  ||  Add  || Close

 Right click on the added Button || Properties  || First button action : "Lock Screen"

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